Jesus the King Study Guide: Exploring the Life and Death of the Son of God

Jesus the King Study Guide: Exploring the Life and Death of the Son of God

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Overview

Jesus the King Study Guide: Exploring the Life and Death of the Son of God by Timothy Keller

In this 9-session Bible study guide, Jesus the King, Timothy Keller will help you and your group discover the most influential man to ever walk the earth … Jesus. His story has been told in hundreds of different ways for thousands of years. What more can be said about this man?

Timothy Keller will help you and your group to unlock new insights into the life of Jesus Christ as he explores how Jesus came as a king, but a king who had to bear the greatest burden anyone ever has. Jesus the King Study Guide helps you discover the life of Christ as told in the Gospel of Mark.

Keller shows how the story of Jesus is at once cosmic, historical, and personal, calling each of us to look anew at our relationship with God. It is an unforgettable study of Jesus Christ, and one that will leave an indelible imprint on your group's journey through the Gospel of Mark.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310814443
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 02/23/2015
Edition description: Study Guid
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 413,981
Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Timothy Keller is the founder and senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Reason for God and The Prodigal God. He has also mentored young urban church planters and pastors in New York and other cities through Redeemer City to City, which has helped launch over 200 churches in 35 global cities to date.

Read an Excerpt

Jesus the King Study Guide


By Timothy Keller, Spence Shelton

ZONDERVAN

Copyright © 2015 Redeemer City to City
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-310-81444-3



CHAPTER 1

SESSION ONE

* * *


CALLED BY THE KING

Mark 1:1–20


Pre-Group

Work through the following readings, Personal Reflection assessment, and Bible Investigation questions to prepare for the group gathering.


READING ASSIGNMENT

Mark 1:1–20 and chapters "Before," 1, and 2 of Jesus the King by Timothy Keller


INTRODUCTION

THE BIG IDEA

The gospel is not good advice; it's a summons to follow a king.


THE CALL TO REPENT AND BELIEVE

"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:15 ESV)

The first words Mark records from Jesus' mouth, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand," define the message and actions that will unfold in the rest of the book. Jesus bursts onto the scene not with a new code of ethics but with a news bulletin about a new reality.

That's why Jesus calls his message "gospel," which literally means "good news." In Jesus' day, this was not just any daily news but life-altering news. A "gospel" was so important it would hold the front pages of the news outlets for weeks. Whatever Jesus is declaring demands our full attention, and Mark reinforces this by putting it front and center: "The kingdom of God is at hand." Mark builds the body of his whole story from this headline. Every move Jesus makes, as recorded by Mark, illustrates for his readers that the kingdom of God—a new regime of perfect, healing leadership over the world—is near. Jesus' healings, his exorcisms, his mercy, his miracles, his authority over nature, his sacrifice, and his defeat of death are all filling out the story of this kingdom Jesus is announcing.

The Gospel of Mark's power lies in its simplicity and directness. It is a refreshing and powerful breaking news item to those of us who live in a sea of lifestyle guides. Think of the difference between news and advice. Advice is counsel on how to improve your life. "You should try yoga" or "Don't go to the one on 21st Street" or "You shouldn't vaccinate your kids" are all examples of advice. News, however, is not there to improve your life; news is there to tell you what has happened and its significance for you now that you've heard it. Whether you choose to believe a news story is entirely your prerogative, but if it is true, then to ignore it will have practical repercussions.

For example, when the research linking sun exposure and skin cancer confronts the average beach vacationer, one can change his or her normal routine via sunscreens and umbrellas, or carry on as normal. Both reactions—changing the routine or keeping it—are decisions on how to deal with the news about the effects of sun exposure.

The bigger and more personally relevant the news, the more deeply it challenges us. Because this news is about God as the King of the world and his vision for our lives, to believe it will be to repent of (literally, to turn away from) some of the basic premises we've built our lives on. If this gospel—that the kingdom of God is at hand, that Jesus is its King, and that he has earned our way to God—is true, it changes everything for us. Jesus says that to believe it will change us so foundationally that our work, our families, our ambitions—everything!—will change as well. We cannot simply add this message to the collection of convenient wisdom guiding our lives. Instead we will lose our lives as we know them for something better than we could ever have imagined.


THE CALL TO FOLLOW THE KING

At once they left their nets and followed him. (Mark 1:18)

To believe Jesus' news will be to believe he is your King. This grabs our attention, because most reading this have never lived under the rule of a king. The idea of one person having total rule over everything in society is difficult enough, but Jesus doesn't stop there. He claims immediate authority over your life specifically.

It may be difficult to put yourself into the scene with the disciples gripping their drenched, fishy-smelling nets. But remember that fishing has likely been their families' livelihood for generations. Jesus is a stanger, walking into their workplace, telling them they need to leave their family business and follow him on the spot. Here you begin to experience the disruptive nature of Jesus' kingship that Mark wants you to feel. "Follow me" is a big statement.

At this point, Mark is scant on the content of the message because he wants us to see the authority of the messenger. When the one calling me reveals himself to be not just any king but my King, I am left with little choice but to obey him then and there. When I find out following him will fulfill everything I've looked for in life, his once disruptive command is now my source of joy. I follow this King not only because I have to, but because following him gives me true meaning and joy.

This King's good news—that you do not need to earn your way to God—is so far-reaching that it is certain to disrupt your life. The good news—that out of his grace Jesus has made a way for you to come to God—frees you from the tyranny of having to build your own life résumé to impress God.


PERSONAL REFLECTION

An important part of any learning process is self-assessment: to determine where you are in relationship to the material presented. The point of the Personal Reflection section is not to feel good or bad about yourself but to help you visualize how the ideas in this session could affect your life. This assessment is situated prior to the Bible Investigation section so you can be aware of your own thinking as you begin studying Scripture. On a scale of 1–5 (1 = strongly disagree and 5 = strongly agree), select the number that best represents your response to each of the following statements.

If surveyed in an anonymous poll about religion, I would identify myself as a Christian.

(strongly disagree) 1 2 3 4 5 (strongly agree)

I feel comfortable when a conversation among friends shifts to religion and faith.

(strongly disagree) 1 2 3 4 5 (strongly agree)

I believe I understand what it means to actively, willingly relinquish authority of my life to Jesus.

(strongly disagree) 1 2 3 4 5 (strongly agree)

I am actively, willingly relinquishing authority of my entire life to Jesus.

(strongly disagree) 1 2 3 4 5 (strongly agree)


BIBLE INVESTIGATION

The following questions are designed to help you understand what is going on in the selected Bible passage. Write down your best responses, and try to avoid reading what others have said about the passage until after you've completed this section on your own. (An occasional study help, "Go Deeper," appears throughout the study guide.)

1. Mark opens his account with a reference to an Old Testament passage. Read Isaiah 40:3, and then compare it to Mark 1:1–4. What is Mark claiming about the identity of Jesus?


GO DEEPER: Mark is quoting a passage talking about Israel's God. Isaiah 40:3 uses the holy name only ascribed to God himself. By quoting a verse about Jesus' coming, Mark is emphatically claiming that Jesus is the God of Israel that Isaiah was talking about. By connecting the work of John the Baptist to the prophecy of Isaiah 40:3, Mark is unambiguous that Jesus is our God who has come.

2. Mark introduces readers to several characters in 1:9–13. List these characters and give any brief description (a phrase or a couple of words) from the Bible you may know about them.

3. What is the significance of Mark including these scenes (the baptism and the temptation of Jesus) with so many supernatural forces at play?

4. Verses 14–15 include Mark's first recorded words of Jesus, which set the trajectory for the rest of his book. What authority is Jesus claiming, and how does this claim inform the way you are to read the rest of the story? (Read Colossians 1:15–20 for more help.)

5. Having announced that the kingdom is at hand, Jesus calls his hearers to repentance and belief. Repentance is different than simply saying, "I'm sorry"—it means to completely turn away from something. So what does Jesus mean by repentance here?

6. Why does Jesus say to repent and believe instead of just believe?

7. What do you think Mark wants us as his readers to believe about Jesus through the response of the fishermen to Jesus' call?


Group Discussion

After a time of welcome and opening prayer, spend a few minutes reviewing the Pre-Group study together (observations, questions, insights), and then jump into this session's application questions and group exercise.


REVIEW

1. In one sentence, how would you summarize Mark 1:1–20?

2. Look over your notes from the Pre-Group study. What stood out to you as the key point?

3. Which Bible Investigation questions, if any, did you have difficulty with or want to discuss further?


APPLICATION

These questions are designed to help you take the core ideas from the Pre-Group Study and introduce them into your own story.

4. Mark sets Jesus up as both God and King in the opening chapter. At this point in your story, do you believe this claim? (Don't worry, this is only week one. The idea here is to honestly assess where you are spiritually right now, giving you something to look back to as you go through the study.)

The gospel isn't advice: It's the good news that you don't need to earn your way to God; Jesus has already done it for you. Jesus the King, p. 22


5. The gospel news is the core of the Christian faith, and yet Christianity often ends up cast as a set of behaviors, opinions, and positions. How have you viewed what it means to be a Christian up to this point? What "Christian behaviors" are you most inclined to feel proud of yourself for?

"Follow me because I'm the King you've been looking for. Follow me because I have authority over everything, yet I have humbled myself for you. Because I died on the cross for you when you didn't have the right beliefs or the right behavior. Because I have brought you news, not advice. Because I'm your true love, your true life–follow me." Jesus the King, p. 24


6. Brainstorm together a short job description of a perfect king. Consider the king's key roles and responsibilities and how he relates to those under his authority.

7. The disciples left their lifelong careers immediately to follow Jesus. To submit to Jesus as King is no small step for anyone. What do you perceive as the biggest obstacles to you personally submitting to Jesus as King and transferring authority of your life over to him? If you already have submitted to Jesus as King, where in your life are you most likely to rebel against his authority?

8. What would your life look and feel like if you fully surrendered to this perfect King? Your work life? Love life? Family life? Financial life? Social life?


EXERCISE

Mark claims Jesus is God and King. Break into groups of two or three people and each write a list of one-word descriptors of who you understand Jesus to be, based on your personal experience as well as this study. After about five minutes, compare your lists with each other and discuss.

Feel free to share with the larger group any insight you learn from hearing each other's lists. Then close your time together in prayer.


On Your Own

Reinforce and apply this session's learning by engaging in the Personal Challenge; then read ahead for next session.


PERSONAL CHALLENGE

The challenge is an individual exercise for you to complete at some point following this session but before the next, as a way to dig deeper into the application of the truths from this session.

The Gospel of Mark is the story of Jesus. On the next page, try writing down your own spiritual story this week. What are the high and low points in your story? Who are the main characters? For this particular exercise, keep it to 500 words or less. You will be coming back to this story in a later session.


READING ASSIGNMENT

Mark 2–3 and chapters 3–4 of Jesus the King by Timothy Keller

CHAPTER 2

SESSION TWO

* * *

DEEPER HEALING

Mark 2:1–1726


Pre-Group

Work through the following readings, Personal Reflection assessment, and Bible Investigation questions to prepare for the group gathering.


READING ASSIGNMENT

Mark 2–3 and chapters 3–4 of Jesus the King by Timothy Keller


INTRODUCTION

THE BIG IDEA

There is one problem deeper than all of our other problems, and the key to healing this deepest problem is found in the gospel.


"THAT YOU MAY KNOW"

The band R.E.M. had a hit song in the early '90s called "Everybody Hurts," expressing the shared experience of pain across the human race. Whether it is caused by our own doing, by another person, or by forces beyond our control, everyone experiences pain. For many, healing that pain becomes a major life quest. Some men work their entire lives and conquer industries in hopes of somehow resolving the wounds they feel from an absent father in childhood. Others will try dozens of remedies for chronic physical pain that has plagued their bodies for years. In one way or another, we all hurt; and when we do, we all want relief from our pain.

In Mark 2 the man who couldn't walk surely wanted relief. We can reasonably guess that his friends did not climb atop a roof, cut a hole in it, and then bear his weight as they lowered him down through it ... all against his will. The man wanted to walk. Perhaps this is why Mark gives us stories like these. We see our own affliction in the lame man and read ourselves into the story with Jesus. How many times have you prayed for God to ease your pain?

I (Spence) remember waking one night to find my wife undergoing what turned out to be a miscarriage. And throughout that night, as it became more clear that we would lose our child, I pleaded and begged God for healing. Like the lame man, on that day I didn't come to Jesus to hear 'Your sins are forgiven.' I came hoping for the miracle of 'Rise up!' In the moment of pain we all share the same cry: God help me.

Jesus looks on our pleas with the same compassion he looked on the plea of the lame man. And he has the same power to answer our cry for help. With the lame man he claimed to wield power that only God has, to offer healing that only God can offer. And in response to the skeptical onlookers he verified his claim by making the lame man able to walk.


A DEEPER HEALING

Mark includes this story that we may learn to exchange what we want for what God wants for us. In moments of pain we still want the sign, the physical healing, the relief. We want to get up and walk like the lame man. We may not see it, but in our pain there is also a deeper longing within us, for healing deeper than we know how to express. In this scene Jesus heals the man's body—a true blessing—so that we may believe he can also heal and forgive the soul. The man claiming to be God will suffer great pain so that our pain in this life will be eclipsed by a hope so great it swallows up the pain entirely.


PERSONAL REFLECTION

The point of the Personal Reflection section is not to feel good or bad about yourself, but to help you visualize how what you are learning could affect your life. This assessment is situated prior to the Bible Investigation section so you can be aware of your own thinking as you begin studying Scripture. On a scale of 1–5 (1 = strongly disagree and 5 = strongly agree), select the number that best represents your response to each of the following statements.

I sometimes wonder whether or not God cares about me.

(strongly disagree) 1 2 3 4 5 (strongly agree)

I believe I need forgiveness from God.

(strongly disagree) 1 2 3 4 5 (strongly agree)

The people closest to me would say I readily forgive others.

(strongly disagree) 1 2 3 4 5 (strongly agree)

I am more likely to approach difficult circumstances with hope than with despair.

(strongly disagree) 1 2 3 4 5 (strongly agree)


BIBLE INVESTIGATION

The following questions are designed to help you explore chapter 2 of Mark's Gospel. Take your time and write down your best response to each question.

1. Look at Mark 2:1–5. How would you characterize the "faith" that Jesus is responding to?

2. Why is Jesus' first response to the paralytic (v. 5) surprising to the various characters in the scene?

3. Why does Jesus forgive the paralytic?

4. Why does Jesus heal the paralytic?


GO DEEPER: Mark is reinforcing his thesis that Jesus is the Son of God by recounting Jesus' encounter with the lame man. This encounter took place in front of numerous witnesses, many of whom were Jews. Isaiah 35:6 says that when the Messiah comes, "Then will the lame leap like a deer." The healings of Jesus were not just acts of compassion but signals verifying that the prophecies about the Messiah were being fulfilled in Jesus. Why does Jesus forgive and heal the paralytic? Because Jesus wants to be very clear to his audience, and to us, that he is the one and only true God.

5. What is important about Mark's description of the crowd's response in verse 12?


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Jesus the King Study Guide by Timothy Keller, Spence Shelton. Copyright © 2015 Redeemer City to City. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

INTRODUCTION, 7,
HOW TO USE THIS STUDY GUIDE, 8,
SESSION ONE CALLED BY THE KING (Mark 1:1–20), 11,
SESSION TWO DEEPER HEALING (Mark 2:1–17), 25,
SESSION THREE MORE THAN YOU EXPECTED (Mark 5:1–43), 39,
SESSION FOUR RIGHTLESS ASSERTIVENESS (Mark 7:14–37), 51,
SESSION FIVE JESUS HAD TO DIE (Mark 8:27–31), 63,
SESSION SIX MAKING THE IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE (Mark 10:17–31; 12:28–34), 75,
SESSION SEVEN COMMUNION AND COMMUNITY (Mark 14:12–25), 89,
SESSION EIGHT THE CRUCIFIED KING (Mark 14:53–65; 15:1–34), 101,
SESSION NINE THE DEATH OF DEATH (Mark 15:40–16:8), 115,

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